News, rumors, release window, and rumored price

With the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro having established themselves as some of the best Android phones you can buy today, it’s time to look forward to what’s on the horizon. You could pick up last year’s Google flagships, but imagining what’s around the corner is more fun. The Pixel 9 series will be here before you know it — Google’s already made reference to it in its app — and unsurprisingly, we already know a lot about this year’s lineup. This year, that’s extra exciting, as we’re looking at three different phones coming to a carrier near you this fall. Here’s everything we know about the Pixel 9 series.

Google Pixel 9: Design

Three phones, one new design, and we’ve already seen it in the wild

The Pixel 9 Pro XL. Yes, it’s confusing.

Alright, let’s not leave you waiting. In order to talk about the Pixel 9’s design, we need to establish what the Pixel 9 even is. Unlike years in the past, we’re looking at three unique smartphones this year, which could make the decision on which to buy more complicated than ever. On the other hand, small smartphone lovers rejoice — you’re finally getting a telephoto lens on a Pixel device that might actually slot into your pocket.

And don’t mistake this year’s changes to Google’s smartphone strategy to be some kind of Pixel Ultra kerfuffle. We’ve been hearing about the concept of three Pixel 9 models since way back in December of 2022. Here’s what we wrote then:

Meanwhile, the Pixel 9 series is set to expand. Alongside the regular Pixel 9 (no codename on this) and the Pixel 9 Pro (“komodo”), Google wants to launch a small version of the Pixel 9 Pro. At 6.3″ this model (codenamed “caiman”) would effectively be the size of the current Pixel 7, but with all of the extras that often leave users opting for the larger model. It’s yet another Apple-inspired move, as Google looks to chase the success of phones like the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

Despite this roadmap leaking nearly two years before the Pixel 9’s planned launch, nearly every rumor this year has lined up with what we heard way back in 2022. So, let’s take a closer look at all three smartphones, starting with the latest of Google’s upcoming trio to leak.

Pixel 9

Source: 91Mobiles

The Pixel 9 seems destined to be overshadowed this year, but depending on the price point Google is able to strike here, perhaps it shouldn’t be. By all accounts, this is exactly what you’d expect the successor to the Pixel 8 to be. It has a new look for the camera bar — similar to what we first saw on earlier leaks for the rest of this lineup — but lacks a telephoto lens. This generation, it looks in line with what we saw on the Pixel Fold in 2023, presenting a large bump that doesn’t connect directly with the frame of the phone.

One look at these renders confirms Google is following in the footsteps of Apple and Samsung in more ways than one. It’s not just about developing different tiers of phones; the inspiration also comes from those flat edges. They’ve been the iPhone’s signature style since the iPhone 12 in 2020, while Samsung adopted fully flat sides on the Galaxy S24 and S24+ just this year. Combined with the rounded corners — a similar look to our earliest glances of the Pixel 8a — and the Apple comparisons really do write themselves.

Otherwise, this looks like a pretty standard Pixel. OnLeaks, the source of our first Pixel 9 glimpse, highlighted its 6.03-inch display, though based on its dimensions — 152.8 x 71.9 x 8.5mm — and how the leaker measures rounded displays, expect something closer to a 6.1-inch display when all is said and done. That camera bump looks pretty chunky in these leaks, by the way, with OnLeaks saying it results in an additional 3.5mm being tied to its overall thickness.

Pixel 9 Pro

Pixel 9 Pro renders are blue on a light gray background.

In many ways, the Pixel 9 Pro is actually the new phone this year, despite it sounding like a successor to last year’s Pixel 8 Pro. In following Apple’s product structure, the Pixel 9 Pro will tie the more premium aspects of Google’s larger smartphones — specifically the telephoto sensor — to a smaller device. This model reportedly measures in at 152.8 x 71.9 x 8.5mm, which, for those readers paying close attention, is identical to the rumored size of the standard Pixel 9. Expect to see a 6.2-inch display here, thanks to the Pro’s slimmer bezels.

Aside from that extra lens, however (which, we should add, doesn’t result in a thicker camera bar), the Pixel 9 Pro seems nearly unchanged from its un-Pro sibling in terms of look and style. Future leaks could cement more differences, including swapping out matte and glossy finishes on the back glass, but overall, these two smaller Pixel 9 models seem alike in most ways.

By the way, we’ve actually seen real-world photos of the Pixel 9 Pro, which show off just how small it really is compared to the competition. These leaked images of an early unit line up well with the early Onleaks renders, right down to the matte glass back paired with a glossy finish for the main frame. Other notable changes include the SIM tray along the bottom of the phone — changing the shape of the microphone from the Pixel 8 — and, of course, that big new camera island on the back.

Source: Rozetked

It looks positively tiny next to an iPhone 14 Pro Max, and really demonstrates just how big of a shake-up we’re in for come this fall. Frankly, it’s looking pretty good, too, especially compared to Apple’s relatively stale design.

Pixel 9 Pro XL

Pixel 9 Pro XL renders are black on a dark gray background.

Finally, we’re back on familiar ground. The Pixel 9 Pro XL is a mouthful of a model name, but in all other ways, it serves as a successor to last year’s Pixel 8 Pro. Initial leaks pegged its dimensions at 162.7 x 76.6 x 8.5mm, nearly identical to Google’s 2023 flagship in all but thickness. OnLeaks suggests this device will use a 6.5-inch display, but as with the previous two phones, this likely comes down to differences in how measurements work. Expect another 6.7-inch screen, same as last year.

Otherwise, you’ll find the same camera bar redesign, the same triple lens cutouts, and even identical thickness compared to the Pixel 9 Pro and standard Pixel 9. If this lineup seems a little confusing, one thing’s for sure: Google has mixing and matching its design language down to an exact science.

The Pixel 9 Pro could be the premium compact Android phone we’ve been waiting for

A more-than-worthy competitor to the iPhone 16 Pro

Before we move onto specs, a quick word about the potential fourth member of the Pixel 9 family. Recent leaks have suggested Google might bring the Pixel Fold under its mainstream lineup branding, with the Pixel Fold 2 potentially called the Pixel 9 Pro Fold. That’s not a very good name, and considering that phone has its own thing going on — both in terms of design and usability — it feels a little shoehorned in. If you’re looking to learn about what’s next for Google’s foldable lineup, we have a whole hub worth checking out.

Source: Thinborne

Early cases have suggested all three models line up with their respective leaked renders, right down to the redesigned camera visor and various sizes. There’s not much in the way of new information as far as the Pixel 9 goes, but it does suggest that rumors of the Pixel Fold 2 being sold alongside these three phones are true — even if the branding might not be.

Google Pixel 9: Specs

Another Tensor generation is on its way

Source: 91Mobiles

With these design differences out of the way, it’s a little easier to talk about what the lineup will have in common, and that starts with specs. The Tensor G4 is all but certain to be the brains behind Google’s next smartphones. Originally intended to be the company’s first custom in-house chipset, recent reports delayed those plans into 2025 with the Pixel 10. The Tensor G4 will serve as a small bump over the Tensor G3, something made apparent through its “Zuma Pro” codename. Rather than using TSMC’s 3nm node as expected, the G4 will continue to act as a modified Samsung Exynos chipset, right down to using Samsung’s foundry, as we’ve seen in the past.

If raw performance is important to you, it might be worth holding out to see if the Pixel 10 gets that long-rumored, fully custom, in-house chip. Google’s hardware has never matched the powerhouse performance of Apple or Samsung. That could change in 2025 if this current schedule holds out.

Alongside Tensor G4, we’re getting a new Samsung-made modem, which is rumored to be both more power-efficient and faster than what’s currently found in modern Pixel phones. That’s great news — networking has not been Tensor’s biggest strength since it launched with the Pixel 6, and any improvements here to better compete with Qualcomm are a welcome addition. In addition to being the first new modem since the Pixel 7, it might also power satellite connectivity, a feature being worked on specifically for Android 15.

Source: 91Mobiles

It’s unclear if the Pixel 9 Pro and Pixel 9 Pro XL will have differences in storage and RAM, though that’s certainly a possibility. Last year’s Pixel 8 Pro arrived with 12GB of RAM, while the standard Pixel 8 included just 8GB. Considering Gemini Nano initially didn’t arrive on the smaller, cheaper model — it’s now planned to launch alongside the June Feature Drop — we’d like to see all three models ship with equal amounts of memory. That said, the Pro branding gives Google an easy way out to keep its AI features exclusive to the more expensive models. We’ll have to wait for future leaks to see just how it all shakes out.

2024 is currently set to be the year of Qi2, a big upgrade to everyone’s favorite charging standard that adds MagSafe-style pucks into the equation. We’re still waiting for the first handsets to arrive with a perfect match for Apple’s own internal hardware, but the Pixel 9 sounds like an likely contender in that space. If it does arrive, it sounds like it’ll be available on all three models — not just the Pro series.

Google Pixel 9: Software

Android 15 available out of the box

Much like how the Pixel 8 series ushered in the era of Android 14, expect the Pixel 9 series to be the first devices to launch with Android 15 out of the box. It’s too early to know what to expect from the next major upgrade to our favorite mobile OS — we’re currently on DP2, though early Android betas always give us a better look at what’s coming down the pike — but we should get plenty of clues throughout 2024 leading up to the Pixel 9 launch event. Expect Google to save the best features as exclusives for its hardware.

One of the spaces we really expect to see Google working hard to prove its expertise in 2024 is AI, with its efforts already ramping up on the Pixel 8 Pro. The Pixel 9 series could jump even further ahead than the competition, adding a new Gemini-powered assistant called Pixie. Early reports indicate Pixie is designed to pick up the slack for Assistant, working offline while running on-device with Gemini Nano.

As with the Pixel 8, the Pixel 9 series seems likely to receive seven years of OS updates, meaning support up to 2031. That could present some of the best value in smartphones. If you can’t wait a year, Google’s current smartphones guarantee nearly as long of a lifespan.

Google Pixel 9: Cameras

The biggest shakeup this year could potentially be the addition of a telephoto lens to the newly small Pixel 9 Pro, possibly matching up spec-for-spec with the larger model for the very first time. Google could follow Apple’s lead here, using a less powerful telephoto lens in the smaller, more affordable flagship to differentiate these two phones further, but we’ll have to wait for more rumors to find out. The actual Pixel 9 — the one without a Pro suffix — will not include this telephoto lens.

The Pixel 9 lineup may get some new hardware, but what makes this series shine is what Google has cooking in the software. Look for Google to focus more on AI-powered processing and software tricks than raw hardware when it comes to making some of the best camera phones available. Google upgraded the sensor lineup in the Pixel 8 series with some slight changes. The company has been unwilling to discuss what’s new in its latest hardware, though most reports point to the latest main camera being an ISOCELL GNV from Samsung.

Google Pixel 9: Price and release date

Coming to a carrier store near you this fall

This far out from launch, it’s difficult to try and guess pricing — Google might not even have it locked in yet. Historical trends often help, but the addition of a second Pro phone this year complicates the matter. Thankfully, the Pixel 8a retained its $500 price point, despite rumors indicating otherwise, suggesting that at least some price elements may stay in place.

With the Pixel 8a at $500, the Pixel 9 seems likely to be priced anywhere between $650 and $700. Google needs to make it clear the Pixel 9 is a step up from its A-series sibling, but at the same time, ratcheting the price up too high will only cause problems with the Pro models. The Pixel 9 Pro — that’s the smaller of the two — seems likely to hit an $800 price point, while the Pixel 9 Pro XL will likely stick to that $1,000 mark.

Source: 91Mobiles

That said, it’s also possible Google decides to use this trio as an opportunity to scale up in price. We could be looking at the entry-level Pixel 9 at $800, the smaller Pixel 9 Pro at $1,000, and the larger Pixel 9 Pro XL at $1,200. That would line up closely with Google’s two closest rivals, Samsung and Apple. But until we’re closer to launch, and retail leaks start appearing, it’s impossible to say.

Google’s premium Pixel 9 plans feel too big, too soon

Google is headed out of the budget flagship game, but at what cost?

The release date is easier to predict. Google locked down the first week of October as its dedicated space for launching new Pixel hardware. We don’t expect that to change any time soon. Look for an early October date for Made By Google 2024, followed by availability on store shelves a week after the official announcement. If you can’t wait that long for new hardware — or you want something more affordable — the Pixel 8a is available to preorder right now.

Another generation of Pixel awaits

This far out, it’s hard to recommend anyone wait for the Pixel 9, Pixel 9 Pro, or Pixel 9 Pro XL especially if you need a new smartphone right now. If you’re rocking a modern smartphone that doesn’t need to be replaced, it’s fun to look at what’s on the horizon. In Google’s case, it seems like it’s nothing but blue skies (or, you know, at least blue phones) from here on out.

We’ve updated this guide to include photos of early cases for the Pixel 9 series and new pricing speculation now that the Pixel 8a is official.

Google Pixel 8 Pro

If you can’t wait for the Pixel 9, the Pixel 8 Pro is a great choice. With its AI-focused Tensor G3 chipset, a fantastic camera, and seven years of OS upgrades, it’s one of the best Android phones you can buy today, and will keep you covered for a long time to come.

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